education is one of the fundamental rights every person should have equal and full access to. this is not just for the betterment of the person, but for the advancement of society at large. you never know who the next bill hicks or isaac newton or leonardo da vinci is going to be. but for most kids, school is not a place to learn science or art or critical thinking skills, for many kids it is training on how to survive in prison.
my children have all been under the “special education” umbrella due to their autism spectrum disorders, and while this is supposed to be a safety net to ensure “free and appropriate education” to ppls w different abilities, it is more often than not a way for schools to siphon off funds to other programs while leaving the special ed kids undereducated….bc really what are they going to do in real life, work in a factory?
my son eli had the worst time while in public school. he was harassed by teachers and administrators. he had his disability used against him more often than not up to and including using sensory stimulation as a punishment. he was suspended for speaking his mind. he had his journal taken and his private thoughts read in front of his classmates. the worst part about the whole deal is he never received a proper education, staying at a 3rd grade math level until we took him out of public school.
my son jeff is a prize student. he has been in school since he was 3 years old. he has always been extremely strict in his thinking about behavior and attitude towards school. he does not talk back, he does his work. he works hard. he has been on the honor roll and in the national honors society since sixth grade. he has a 4.0 gpa, but what good is this going to do when they would not even allow him to take the act’s? we were never informed that jeff was not in regular education classes. we were told he was not self contained. we assumed this meant that he was in class with regular education kids, receiving the same education as the other students. but that has not been the case. he has been doing 3rd grade math and science for the past 9 years.
we found out that sam was not in regular education classes at the end of last school year when we went to enroll him in high school. we have been pushing for him to not only get into regular ed classes but to be in the ap (advanced placement) classes. he also has a 4.0 gpa and scores extremely high on all the standardized tests. it has been a fight. we moved his high school, but he is still in special ed math. the distinction between the curriculum used in the special ed and the regular ed classes are so extreme it would be too much for him to handle, although the school district insist the special ed uses the same curriculum as the regular ed just at a slower pace.
all of my children are extremely intelligent, and they all have spent time outside of the school district while i unschooled then homeschooled them. we read, we talk, we play games. we do art. and they learn. when i pulled sam out of public school in his second go at 3rd grade, he was reading below a kindergarten level. 3 years later he was reading books like animal farm and lord of the rings, not just reading but comprehending them. he has read the communist manifesto. all of my children will be attending college. but the schools have done nothing to prepare my kids for this. as a matter of fact, there are programs out there to help kids who come from low income families where the parents don’t have degrees to help kids adjust to college, but eli and jeff were never even offered these programs or given information about it.
so what happens when we don’t educate ppl?
when ppl have no way of navigating through the academic world, they are not only under-prepared but intimated by higher education. without higher education, your job possibilities are lowered significantly. even ppl who have degrees have a difficult time finding gainful employment. so we have a flood of folks who must work at minimum wage, a nonliving wage for an individual and for a family it is a trap. when ppl can’t afford to live, they must do something! you can’t just not feed your kids or yourself…and if your job at mcdonalds isn’t enough for you to do those basic things, you go outside of legal. you turn to making money however you have to.
this is what the government is counting on. the private prison system, the most lucrative system we have going on, relies on the ill-educated to keep occupancy up, to turn the wheels of the profit system.
my kids aren’t the only ppl who have suffered at the hands of public education. it is not just the differently abled. many minorities and ppls in low income areas are discarded and placed on the fast track to prison. ppl of color are the first with their heads on the chopping block. if you don’t believe this is the case, go to any school in a low income area and just look at the science book…you will see a print date from the 80’s if they have them at all. then go to a school in a white high income area and look at the difference. class sizes are smaller, books are available and new, computers and technology is 200 times more efficient and accessible. there are not kids sitting on the window sills and the floor bc there aren’t enough desks. there are running toilets. the kids are encouraged bc they will make something of themselves, while the other kids just show up bc that is what you do.
so the wheel goes around and around. it will not end until we figure out that no person is a lost cause. there is no child that is less than another. everyone in the world has value and worth, and it’s time to start treating them like it!